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The elite private schools in Greece Despoina Valassi PhD candidate, University of Crete Researcher, National Centre of Social Research (EKKE)

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Presentation on theme: "The elite private schools in Greece Despoina Valassi PhD candidate, University of Crete Researcher, National Centre of Social Research (EKKE)"— Presentation transcript:

1 The elite private schools in Greece Despoina Valassi PhD candidate, University of Crete Researcher, National Centre of Social Research (EKKE)

2 Presentation's dilemmas to construct the research field of private education in Greece emphasizing on the history of the institutions and their changing relationship with the middle classes? to treat all this as given and understood, and proceed to present the results of my research without historical background?  It was the title of the Conference itself (Contemporary Greece and Cyprus) which resolved my dilemma

3 Presentation's purpose Some of the results of a study conducted using a sample of private schools in Athens (the research did also include some schools in Thessaloniki)

4 Presentation's assumptions First, the schools in question represent a significant factor in the educational strategies of the middle and upper social classes in Greece; First, the schools in question represent a significant factor in the educational strategies of the middle and upper social classes in Greece; Second, these private schools is not socially homogenous. The internal differentiation of elite private schools separates the very top private schools from the less prestigious ones Second, these private schools is not socially homogenous. The internal differentiation of elite private schools separates the very top private schools from the less prestigious ones Very top private schools = those used by the social, economic and intellectual elite, the country’s industrialists, businessmen and executives in the private sector, academics etc. Less prestigious private schools = those used by merchants, middle-ranking executives, owners of small businesses, etc.).

5 Presentation's structure Section 1: Brief description of the field of study in respect of elite private schools. Section 1: Brief description of the field of study in respect of elite private schools. Section 2: Research design, methodology, sample and research tools. Section 2: Research design, methodology, sample and research tools. Section 3: Findings of the empirical research in relation to Section 3: Findings of the empirical research in relation to a) the social characteristics of the families which choose to send their children to elite private schools, and b) the differentiations found within the elite private school sector.

6 Section 1: Brief description of the field of study Thematic areas Private schools provide education of a higher qualityPrivate schools provide education of a higher quality Meritocracy and elite private schoolsMeritocracy and elite private schools Elite private schools as total institutionsElite private schools as total institutions Elite private schools and social elitesElite private schools and social elites The differentiating functions of elite private schoolsThe differentiating functions of elite private schools Elite private schools and the culture of the upper classesElite private schools and the culture of the upper classes Elite private schools and their alumniElite private schools and their alumni

7 Section 2: Research design, methodology, sample and research tools The study is divided in two parts. first part: pre-research first part: pre-research Interviews with alumni of private schools and with teachersInterviews with alumni of private schools and with teachers Former administrators of private schoolsFormer administrators of private schools Collection of published material (mainly covering history and stages in development) on each school, as well as any printed material they produce (relating solely to the educational community of each school)Collection of published material (mainly covering history and stages in development) on each school, as well as any printed material they produce (relating solely to the educational community of each school) Description of school activities (educational, sporting, cultural, social, and so on)Description of school activities (educational, sporting, cultural, social, and so on) second part: the main field research (the field work took place during the school years ) second part: the main field research (the field work took place during the school years ) the completion of questionnaires (quantitative research) by students in the final class of the upper secondary education at a sample of private schools in Athens and Thessaloniki.

8 Section 2: Research design, methodology, sample and research tools Criteria of the research sample: year in which school was founded; year in which school was founded; systematic production of printed material on the school; systematic production of printed material on the school; religious or ideological tradition of school (e.g. missionary schools); religious or ideological tradition of school (e.g. missionary schools); extra-curricular activities (sport, cultural); extra-curricular activities (sport, cultural); buildings and facilities; buildings and facilities; existence of alumni societies; existence of alumni societies; existence of other societies (cultural, scholarships, etc.); existence of other societies (cultural, scholarships, etc.); provision of international educational programmes (GCE, International Baccalaureate); provision of international educational programmes (GCE, International Baccalaureate); fees; fees; student participation in educational and sports programmes organized with other private schools (forensics, MUN, sports championships); student participation in educational and sports programmes organized with other private schools (forensics, MUN, sports championships); ceremonial occasions; ceremonial occasions; links with foreign states links with foreign states

9 Section 2: Research design, methodology, sample and research tools Sample: 18 private schools of Athens 18 private schools of Athens 5 private school decline to take part in the survey 5 private school decline to take part in the survey

10 Section 2: Research design, methodology, sample and research tools 13 Athenian private schools allowed access: Athens College (HAEF) Athens College (HAEF) Psychico College (HAEF) Psychico College (HAEF) Pierce College Pierce College Moraitis School Moraitis School Geitonas Geitonas Zisidis Zisidis Panagiotopoulos Panagiotopoulos St. Paul St. Paul Jeanne D’Arc Jeanne D’Arc Leonteios (Patissia) Leonteios (Patissia) Leonteios (N.Smyrni) Leonteios (N.Smyrni) Francohellenique (LFE) Francohellenique (LFE) Germaniki Sxoli (D.S.A.) Germaniki Sxoli (D.S.A.)

11 Section 2: Research design, methodology, sample and research tools Research tool: A questionnaire consisted of 75 questions and more than 250 variables Sections of the questionnaire: social and demographic data, social and demographic data, information on the factors leading to the choice of the particular school, information on the factors leading to the choice of the particular school, study habits (e.g. time spent on homework, attendance at extra coaching schools), study habits (e.g. time spent on homework, attendance at extra coaching schools), leisure activities and interests, leisure activities and interests, participation in extra-curricular activities, participation in extra-curricular activities, educational and professional aspirations, educational and professional aspirations, contacts with other countries. contacts with other countries. 1,003 questionnaires were collected, representing 98% of the students in the final class of these schools.

12 Section 3: Findings of the empirical research Factors: The district where the students live The district where the students live Their parents’ occupations Their parents’ occupations Their parents’ educational level Their parents’ educational level

13 Section 3: Findings of the empirical research The definition of the word «elite»: Used in the 17th century to describe items of superior quality, and its use was subsequently extended to refer to social groups enjoying superior status (military associations of nobles or the aristocracy), Used in the 17th century to describe items of superior quality, and its use was subsequently extended to refer to social groups enjoying superior status (military associations of nobles or the aristocracy), Group of individuals which occupies the highest positions in a particular system of relationships, based on the allocation of material and symbolic goods, according to Bourdieu, Group of individuals which occupies the highest positions in a particular system of relationships, based on the allocation of material and symbolic goods, according to Bourdieu, Also, the system under examination occupies the primary role in any social space (in this case, the educational sector). Also, the system under examination occupies the primary role in any social space (in this case, the educational sector).

14 Section 3: Findings of the empirical research Residential segregation and educational strategies of middle class families in Athens

15 Section 3: Findings of the empirical research Table 3.1: Residential Areas of the students

16 Section 3: Findings of the empirical research Table 3.2: Residential Area Typology

17 Section 3: Findings of the empirical research Parents´ Occupational Background

18 Section 3: Findings of the empirical research Table 5a: Father's Occupational Background

19 Section 3: Findings of the empirical research Table 5b: Mother’ s Occupational Background

20 Section 3: Findings of the empirical research Parents´ Educational Background

21 Section 3: Findings of the empirical research Table 4a. Educational background of students’ fathers

22 Section 3: Findings of the empirical research Table 4b: Educational Background of students’ mothers

23 Section 3: Findings of the empirical research The ‘social space’ of the elite private secondary education in Greece

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25 Conclusions Study of the residential areas of the families provides indirect evidence of their economic and social status and highlights the increasing segmentation and hierarchy of the middle class as a result of residential mobility Study of the residential areas of the families provides indirect evidence of their economic and social status and highlights the increasing segmentation and hierarchy of the middle class as a result of residential mobility Based on the analysis of the occupations exercised by parents of children at our schools, we might maintain that these are individuals enjoying considerable social power and prestige. They are persons in occupations at the top of the occupational hierarchy. Based on the analysis of the occupations exercised by parents of children at our schools, we might maintain that these are individuals enjoying considerable social power and prestige. They are persons in occupations at the top of the occupational hierarchy. The high level of education of parents choosing the elite private schools for their children is directly linked with their position in the professional world. Families which are at the top of both educational and professional hierarchies and which succeed in reproducing their social privileges through the institutions of the elite private education. The high level of education of parents choosing the elite private schools for their children is directly linked with their position in the professional world. Families which are at the top of both educational and professional hierarchies and which succeed in reproducing their social privileges through the institutions of the elite private education. The study of the internal differentiation of elite private schools arise the hierarchical structure of this social space (more prestigious and less prestigious private schools) The study of the internal differentiation of elite private schools arise the hierarchical structure of this social space (more prestigious and less prestigious private schools)

26 Thank you


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